Experiences of Japanese aged care: the pursuit of optimal health and cultural engagement

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Abstract

Japan is a super-ageing society that faces pressures on its aged care system from a growing population of older adults. Naturalistic observations were undertaken at eight aged care facilities in central and northern Japan to explore how aged care is configured. Four aspects of contemporary provision were identified that offer potential gains in quality of life and health. The Japanese government mandates that aged care facilities must employ a qualified nutritionist to oversee meal preparation, fostering optimal dietary intake. A concept of life rehabilitation seeks to maximise physical and cognitive performance, with possible longevity gains. Low staff to resident ratios are also mandated by the Japanese government to afford residents high levels of interpersonal care. Finally, Japanese facilities prioritise experiences of seasonality and culture, connecting frail older people to the world beyond their walls.

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